Well, darn it, I lied. I didn't update my other story like I said I would. I wrote like two paragraphs, but it is kind of boring me. I still promise -- absolutely -- to finish it, but I need a break. So this is a Dharma story. If you are a fan of the other story, then you can just imagine it's the same story, only it's what took place in Dharma times. 'K? And I promise to get back to the other one. Maybe if I am working on two at once I won't get so bored.
It had all started their 10th night in Dharmaville. The night his fate was sealed – the fate he was going to do everything in his power to avoid. Sawyer often replayed the night in his mind.
They were gathered in their bunkroom. Under normal circumstances, any of the five of them probably would have complained about their living conditions: one room with two bunk beds, a couch, a table, and a tiny bathroom. But these weren't normal circumstances at all. In fact, they were all more than grateful for clean sheets, a shower, a roof over their heads . . .
Jin and Juliet had the "neat" bunk. Every morning, they got up and made their bunks with neat hospital corners. Even now he could see Jin's loaner jumpsuit and t-shirts neatly folded and stacked on the top bunk. Juliet had somehow scored a crossword puzzle book and a paperback, and they were always neatly stacked, along with a few pens on her lower bunk. Sawyer and Miles' bunk . . . well, let's just say they'd chosen their bunkmates wisely. Jin and Juliet could keep up their anal, obsessive neatness, no skin off Sawyer's nose.
The bunks were close, close enough to reach out and touch the person sleeping in the bunk next to you. This actually came in handy, when they discovered Miles could be a mighty snorer. Jin would just reach over, give Miles a good shake or two, and peace would be restored.
Most nights Sawyer tossed and turned. He wondered about Kate. Was she safe? Jin said the helo made it off the ship. She had to be safe, and he was sure Jack would take good care of her. But, dammit, why had he jumped? How would things have been different?
If he tossed and turned enough, Juliet would realize he was awake and sometimes whisper over to him.
"Six letters. First name of Yankees star. 'REGGIE' doesn't fit," had been last night.
"Reggie Jackson doesn't play for the Yankees yet," he pointed out.
"Good point. MICKEY, then . . . nope that doesn't fit either."
"Try WHITEY. Whitey Ford. W-H-I-T-E-Y."
"That's it, thank you!"
"Knock it off, you two!" hissed Miles from above Sawyer's head.
This evening, they were all gathered for decision making. The sub returned tomorrow and was leaving again four days later. They were supposed to be on it. Every morning, Sawyer had set out with Jin, Juliet, and Miles and they'd searched. They'd told Dharma they were looking for their crew, and they were – Bernard, Rose, and the rest had to be somewhere, didn't they? And there was the unspoken hope every morning that this would be the day that some way, somehow, Locke would be back. And he would surely know what to do.
They had their own time travel expert with them, but Daniel had spoken less than 10 words since their arrival 10 days ago. Their very first night, Daniel had staked out the couch. They'd promised to rotate, so he wouldn't be stuck there every night, but Daniel refused to move from the couch except to eat and use the bathroom.
So, now they had to decide. Sawyer thought he could probably persuade Horace into letting them stay. Every day they were here, there was more chance they'd somehow be able to right things and get home – whatever, whenever, that meant. "Sub's back tomorrow," he said to his friends. "So, let's hear it. Who's staying?"
Jin answered first. "I cannot leave." Sawyer understood. Leaving this Island in 1974 meant Jin had no chance to reunite with his wife.
Juliet was next. "I said I'd stay two weeks. If Locke's not back in the next few days, I'm leaving." He was disappointed to hear it, but he understood her, too. He'd come to find out how much she hated this place.
Now it was Miles' turn. "I'm outta here. It creeps me out too much seeing them every day." Sawyer knew that by "them" Miles meant his parents. Creepy was right – he understood Miles' desire to leave.
"What about you Einstein?" Sawyer turned to Daniel, in the corner.
Daniel answered dully. "Doesn't matter what we decide. If we're supposed to leave, we'll leave. If we're supposed to stay, we'll stay. Doesn't matter."
"You're saying we have no choice?" asked Juliet.
"Oh, you can 'choose' all you want, but it won't matter," answered Daniel.
"What do you mean?" Juliet asked him.
"Well, it's like this: you say you're leaving. But if you're supposed to be here – if there's some reason you're supposed to be here, something you're supposed to do? You CAN'T leave. Something will stop you. The sub will break down. Someone else will take your seat. You'll break an ankle, and they'll pull you off. And if none of that happens . . . you'll just decide to stay. You'll change your mind."
"Ha!" Juliet responded. "I can promise you that's not happening. I'm on that sub on my way off this place? Trust me, I'm not changing my mind."
"This is nuts," Sawyer broke in. "You're saying we don't got a choice . . . in any of this?"
"I'm saying that whatever happened, happened. We can't change the past, no matter what we try."
"Horseshit!" declared Sawyer. "You're tellin' us we already been through this already? No way."
"Actually, I think I can prove it," said Daniel, standing up from the couch, and flipping through his ever-present book, or journal, or diary, or whatever the hell it was. He was more animated than they'd seen him since Charlotte had died. Sawyer threw a "what the hell?" look Juliet's way. She replied with a "beats me" look of her own.
Daniel kept flipping pages. "Tell me again what you told them your name was?" he asked.
Jesus! They'd gone over and over this for ten days. They'd spent whole afternoons concocting their cover story, practicing his new name. Sawyer rolled his eyes.
"LaFleur!" shouted Miles. "Jim LaFleur!"
"OK, hmmm . . . see, right! Here it is!" Daniel yelped triumphantly.
"What's that, Daniel?" asked Juliet.
"Well, I've done some research on the Dharma Initiative . . ."
Sawyer rounded on him. "That would have been nice to know, doncha think?"
Daniel kept on. "Yeah, well, mostly about their research and experiments, but I thought your named sounded familiar. Jim LaFleur was the head of security for the D.I. during the mid-70s. See?" He waved a page in Sawyer's face. "You were always here."
The group sat in stunned silence. Couldn't be, could it? Juliet was the first to speak. "Maybe there's someone else with the same name?"
"Wouldn't someone have mentioned that by now?" noted Miles.
But Daniel wasn't finished. "Well, apparently you and your wife disappear under mysterious circumstances in 1977."
"Nuh uh. Ain't me, partner. I ain't married."
"Not yet, you're not," Daniel replied.
Sawyer thought he was used to insane. He'd had nearly four months filled with insanity, but this took the cake. Daniel was standing there, looking triumphant and twitchy. He wanted to wring his neck. This was all just too much. He was supposed to get married? To one of these hippy Dharma chicks? Absolutely no way. He looked around the room, hoping to find an ally. Who knows how much Jin understood? Miles was studiously avoiding eye contact. Juliet was giving Dan the scary blue steel glare.
"Does it say anything about the rest of us, Daniel?" she asked, calmly.
"What do you mean?" he responded.
Miles now piped up. "Your book says LaFleur and the missus . . ." Sawyer snorted in disgust. Miles continued. "They disappear in 1977 . . . but what about the rest of us? Does your book say what happens to us?"
"Ummmm . . ." Daniel began flipping through his book.
None of it mattered, though, thought Sawyer. The sub was leaving in four days. "Well, that settles it," he announced to the group. "I'm on the sub with Miles and Juliet."
"You can't leave," Daniel protested.
"You gonna stop me?" Sawyer was getting fed up with Dan's mumbling and craziness and overall smarter-than-you persona. So, Dan's answer didn't help matters much.
"Did you not hear what I just explained? Whatever happened, happened. You were here until 1977, so there's no way you'll get on that sub on Friday. Just get that through your thick skull."
Without thinking, Sawyer reached out and grabbed Dan by his lapels, slamming him into the wall. Juliet and Jin were up in a flash, set to pull him off Dan, when there was a knock at the door.
"Jim, you in there?" It was Horace. Sawyer set Dan down gently. "Come on in, H," he called.
"Can we go somewhere to talk?" Horace asked.
"Whatever you need to say, you can say to all of us."
"All right, then," Horace began. "There's been a problem in Ann Arbor. The sub's not coming tomorrow. In fact, it won't be back for six months at least. So here's the deal – you and your folks can leave us and fend for yourselves in the jungle, or you can stay here – as members of the Dharma Initiative. We have some openings in security."
They all sat in stunned silence -- again. Sawyer noticed a glimmer of satisfaction in Dan's eyes. Miles, meanwhile, was just shaking his head, while Juliet took a noticeable gulp.
"I think . . ." Sawyer started. He looked over to Juliet, who nodded. "I think we'll stay here, if that's all right with you."
"Of course. Glad to hear it," said Horace, backing out the door. "I can get you folks through orientation starting tomorrow." And he was gone.
"See? What did I tell you? We can't leave." Dan said.
With that, Sawyer saw Juliet drop her face to her hands. They were stuck.
"Look," Daniel was saying. "I couldn't explain this to some of the brightest minds of our generation. There's no way I could expect you to get it."
And now Miles added, "I guess I'll have to think of a good wedding present for you and Mrs. LaFleur."
And with that, Sawyer stalked out the front door and slammed it shut.
He was sitting on a picnic table, fuming. Was it true? Were their fates sealed? And Dan, that twitchy, nervous geek, was no help, was he? Just another arrogant overeducated dipwad with a long line of fancy degrees. Lot of good that did. What was worse? That they were stuck here for another three years? Or that Dan's journal said he had a wife? God forbid. He might be able to stick it out if he could stay with his friends, but the thought of some 1970s Dharma hippy chick wife . . . not gonna happen.
Someone sat next to him. If it was Daniel, he was going to wring his skinny neck. Thankfully, though, it was Juliet.
"Sorry I flew off the handle back there," he said. "It's just . . . Daniel . . . Have you ever noticed that the more degrees someone has the more of an asshole they are?"
She paused. "You calling me an asshole, James?"
He chuckled. "Exception proves the rule. Daniel, though . . .don't get me started on that guy."
"You should cut him some slack. The woman he loved just died right in front of him."
"Yeah, like ten days ago!! It's about time for him to get his head back in the ballgame. I can't believe how broken up he is over some damn woman."
"Wow," she replied. "That is really, really heartless – even for you. I feel sorry for Mrs. LaFleur."
"Yeah, well, don't even get me started on THAT."
She laughed. "That's what's really bothering you isn't it?" She laughed some more.
"Go ahead and laugh. Fine. It ain't your name in that damn book. And don't even think of saying 'marriage ain't that bad' or something else ridiculous. I don't wanna hear it."
"I wouldn't think of it. Besides, in my experience . . . marriage IS that bad. Better you than me, I say."
He shook his head. "How weird is it, though? That my name's in that book of his? And then, sure thing, no sub to take us off here?
"Weird. Very weird," she agreed. She stood up, patted him twice on the shoulder. "Well, I'll leave you to your thoughts," and was off.
Very well, he thought. He'd just have to be on his guard. No way he was going to accidentally get married. He'd just steer clear of women altogether. No problem. Jin, Juliet, and Miles were more friends than he'd had most of his life. He didn't need any more companionship than the three of them.
Next up: Find out how Sawyer reacts when the resident Dharma hussy makes a pass at him in the lunch room (when I get around to it . . . maybe I will update the other story first, but probably neither for like a week or so).